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Betting 101

Table of Contents
  • How to Read Sports Odds
  • Moneyline Explained
  • Betting Against the Spread
  • Over / Under Betting
  • Parlays & Teasers
  • Prop Bets
  • Futures Bets
  • Bankroll Management
  • Where to Bet on Sports Online
  • Betting Online vs. Vegas Sportsbooks
  • Sportsbook Rules
  • 7 Common Mistakes in Betting
  • What is the Vigorish?
  • Betting Against the Public
  • Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Sports Betting
  • Buying Points

What Do American, Decimal, & Fractional Formats Mean?

The numbers you see next to betting lines are called odds. The odds, displayed in either American, Decimal, or Fractional formats, serve two purposes:

  1. They signal the implied probability of the outcome it’s attached to.
  2. They indicate how much money you’ll win if you bet on that specific event.

We have to be careful with the probability though: bookmaker probabilities are influenced by where money is going, and the sum of the probabilities of a single event will always surpass 100 percent.

Bookmaker probabilities tell you how much they’re charging to take your bet. You may also hear this referred to as “the juice” or “cut” or “vig(orish).”

Why You Should Bet Online

Even in Las Vegas, the ‘sharp’ players are well aware of the advantages of betting online. All of the major sportsbooks offer an online or mobile interface and that’s the preferred choice of most smart players. More significantly–the overwhelming majority of ‘sharp’ Las Vegas sports bettors also play at any number of the online sportsbooks.

Fractional Odds in Action

Golovkin is the first fighter listed, so he receives the 8/13 odds listed under “Fighter 1.” These odds mean that, if this fight happened 21 times (8 + 13), Golovkin would lose eight bouts and win 13.

To calculate the implied probability of Golovkin winning the fight, take the number of times he is expected to win (13) and divide it by the total number of trials (21). This results in a 61.9-percent chance for Golovkin to win the fight.

To calculate Alvarez’s probability of winning the match, we do the same thing. His odds are 11/8, meaning if the fight happened 19 times (11 + 8), Alvarez would lose 11 times and win eight times.

Therefore, the probability of Alvarez winning the fight is calculated by dividing 8 (the number of times he would win) by 19 (the total number of trials). Alvarez has a 42.1-percent chance of winning the fight.

Finding the Right Online Betting Site

In the early days of the online betting boom it was a never ending struggle trying to keep track of the many places to bet. New sites were coming online every week, many offering very attractive bonuses and other perks. Few, if any, of the sites that offered ‘too good to be true’ bonuses are still around.

Times have changed and the online betting sites that have endured since the early days have for the most part earned the trust and respect of the betting community. Stories of ‘scam books’ that pop up, take players’ money and disappear are few and far between. The majority of the top online betting sites available to players today are decent, with the top tier being as trustworthy as any bank or financial institution.

Here are a few tips for finding an online betting site that provides a great betting experience and that you can trust:

Check out their website and bet offerings:

A fancy, flashy website doesn’t mean much. You want to find a website that is functional and utilitarian with an easy to navigate betting menu and a quick and intuitive bet placement process. You should also check out the variety of sports offered. Most highly recommended books will have all of the major betting sports–football, basketball, baseball, hockey, etc. If you’re looking to bet on European sports like rugby or if you want an extensive selection of world soccer leagues make sure to check it out.

Get a recommendation from an experienced better:

You can start by asking around. You’ll likely hear some of the same names come up over and over again. If you don’t know any experienced bettors you should take advantage of the expertise provided on this site. We’ve got in depth reviews of our most highly rated books so you should be able to get a good idea of which one is right for you.

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